The Pediatric Palliative Care Team/Pediatric Palliative Care Services

Palliative care is provided by a team of skilled, compassionate professionals including doctors, nurses, social workers, spiritual counselors, and various therapists including music, massage, physical, occupational, animal, and art therapists. A pediatric palliative care team may also include educators, child life specialists and others. Each member of the team is equipped to provide the specialized care needed when a child or young adult is facing a serious illness. The pediatric palliative care team also provides support to the parents, family, and loved ones of the patient.

Comprehensive palliative care takes into account the physical, emotional, spiritual, and practical needs that arise when a young person has a serious illness:

Physical--pain, fatigue, loss of appetite, nausea, shortness of breath, and insomnia are just some of the physical symptoms that can accompany a serious illness. A palliative are team can recommend an approach to managing these symptoms that may include medication, physical and occupational therapy, breathing techniques and other therapies that can help provide relief.

Emotional--Facing a serious illness can take an emotional toll on any patient, but it can be especially difficult on a young person. The palliative care team includes social workers, mental health professionals, counselors, and therapists to help children and their families cope with the emotional challenges that come with a serious illness.

Practical--There are practical challenges that often arise when a child is diagnosed with a serious illness. Families often wonder how to navigate things like schooling or activities for their child or how to find qualified caregivers. Families may also struggle with financial or legal challenges. A palliative care team can help families access resources to provide support and guidance in navigating through these practical challenges.

Spiritual--A serious illness can often cause struggles or questions of faith to arise. A palliative care specialist such as a chaplain or other spiritual counselor can help a child or young adult and his/her family explore matters of faith and spirituality.

Click here to learn more about spiritual support and palliative care